According to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends Report, recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace has increased by 74% in the last three years. In our experience and in the work we do in training and development and speaking to business owners, we find that while most business owners will agree that there are benefits to be had in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, unfortunately, many businesses and organizations still think implementing initiatives like Diversity and Inclusion programmes is expensive business, costing lots in time and money when in reality the real cost is in not implementing it. In today’s world, Diversity and Inclusion is not an option but a necessity for every organization that wants to remain relevant, profitable, and lead its market in the future, and here is why.
1. IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO
As humans, we all have the same basic need to feel loved, respected, valued, and to be understood. Everyone has the right to fully show up as their real authentic self, full of confidence in who they are, not who they think they are expected to be. While the Laws that undergird Diversity and Inclusion are vital and we breach them at our peril, we must not forget that embracing Diversity and Inclusion is fundamentally the right thing to do.
2. IT’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE
Even in the height of the global covid-19 pandemic, Diversity and Inclusion still managed to receive sustained global attention. It is not going anywhere, especially as we see more and more Millennials in the workforce. While data on what percentage of the workforce will be Millennials by 2025 is inconclusive, what is clear is that they will be the largest group at work and if there is one thing we know about Millennials, it is that they care very much about social issues like the environment and social justice. One can just imagine the recruitment challenges if the largest portion of the pool you can recruit from does not want to work for an organization like yours. It’s not just about recruitment either. More and more, members of the public are looking to spend their hard-earned cash with companies that care about more than profits.
3, IT LEADS TO INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND PROFITS
The data tells us that an organization with a diverse and inclusive culture is healthier, more profitable and more sustainable. This should come as no surprise. When employees feel included, they engage and when they are engaged, they are more productive. When they feel excluded, they disengage. In fact, they might as well have quit, but keep getting paid.
Having a truly diverse and inclusive culture, where everyone feels like they belong, frees the employee to give their employer their discretionary goodwill, where they go above and beyond the call of duty. It’s a win-win situation because the employee is more productive and feels more fulfilled and happier in their role and the organization is more productive.
4. IT IS COST SAVING
According to the Office of National Statistics, an estimated 141.4 million working days were lost because of sickness or injury in the UK in 2018, the equivalent to 4.4 days per worker. It is interesting to note that minor illnesses were given as the reason for over a quarter of days lost in 2018, about 27.2% while mental health conditions accounted for about 12.4%. A 2020 study by Viking revealed that fake sick days cost UK businesses £5.6 billion in 2019. Not only is it easier for someone to call in sick rather than face one more day of bullying, racial abuse or some other form of discriminatory or prejudicial behaviour by a boss or colleague, but such toxic environments can also affect staff mental and physical health causing them to take time off work, which costs the company in loss of revenue. Not forgetting the cost of:
- losing and replacing employees
- failure to attract new talent
- lack of innovation and loss of diversity of ideas and knowledge
- settlements and payouts for discriminations cases
- interruptions to business operations by way of lost time and other disruptions
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The conversation about Diversity and Inclusion is not about asking people to change overnight Instead, it is about holding space for difficult, but necessary conversations to be had and being open to ideas, perspectives, and experiences outside of your own. One very simple, practical step EVERY organization, can take towards creating a more diverse and inclusive culture is to create time and space for everyone in the organization, leaders, and teams alike to think and talk through the issues, to ask the question…how are we doing in this area, and could we be doing more? The answer of course is there is always more that can be done.
Mary Eniolu – Speaker, Trainer, and Coach
Mary is a solicitor and professional speaker, trainer, and coach. She is the founder of Can Do Academy, a training and development company offering Institute of Leadership and Management approved and CPD accredited training and coaching solutions to individuals and organizations, helping them increase performance and to achieve desired outcomes.